March 6, 2003
TURKS' 'NO' TO TROOPS: A 'BLOW' TO U.S., A WIN FOR TURKEY'S
** World press judged the Turkish parliament's
"unexpected" refusal to help stage U.S. troops a "setback"
for U.S. plans in Iraq and a "victory" for Turkish democracy.
** Turkish papers were torn: Some hailed the
vote as a "proud decision" while others raised realpolitik concerns that
rebuffing the U.S. would risk Turkey's future "strategic interests."
** Many expected that Turkey's economic troubles
and desire for "leverage" in a post-Saddam era, would impel the AKP
government to return to the "bargaining table" with the U.S.
'No' vote a 'blow' to U.S. military's plans;
delays but doesn't avert war-- In an initial flurry of
schadenfreude, critics declared the veto a "defeat" for Washington,
convinced that Bush's "hopes for an anti-Saddam coalition" by
"cajoling" other nations had been dashed. More, however, viewed the move as an
"irritant" and a "complication" rather than a
"crisis" for the administration.
A Singapore daily noted that far from being "discouraged,"
Washington was "more determined than ever to go to war." Many agreed with Paris's right-of-center Le
Figaro that the "setback" came "too late to keep the U.S.
from striking alone when the time comes."
Turkey's 'no to superpower' a 'brave political
act' with expensive consequences-- While relieved that
parliament had resisted U.S. "blackmail," both secular and Islamist
outlets in Turkey questioned whether the decision was really in the country's
long-term interest. Most agreed that the
AKP government had "handled the situation badly." A number feared that Turkey had more to lose
by remaining "uninvolved in an inevitable war," especially
"control and influence" in a post-war Iraq. Capturing the overall ambivalence,
Islamic-intellectual Zaman praised the "proud decision" and at
the same time worried that it carried the "risk of being short-sighted in
terms of Turkey's strategic interests."
Citing another cause for alarm, mass-appeal Hurriyet insinuated
that the U.S. had started "playing its Kurdish card" and was
"deliberately provoking the anti-Turkey sentiment in northern
Iraq." Observers outside Turkey
also ventured that Erdogan's "pressure" and "monetary
temptations" would prevail in a likely "counter-vote" in
The irony of Turkey's turning down 'America's
more-than-generous offer'-- Critics also took some
delight in watching the Turks, after all the "haggling," spurn the
U.S.' "dubious dollar diplomacy" through a democratic act of
parliament. Observers were astonished
that the U.S.' "closest and most loyal ally" in the vicinity of Iraq
had not only "dragged" Washington into "unseemly
negotiations," but also "stabbed it in the back." Many, including Tokyo's liberal Asahi,
found it ironic that a "legislative act under democracy" had managed
to "throw cold water on the U.S. that is trying to...democratize the
Middle East." Some, especially in
Europe, were sanctimonious in observing that "dollars cannot buy
everything, as the Americans believe."
A German observer gushed that by "refusing to be bought," Turkey "proved worthy of Europe."
This analysis is based on 76 reports from 37 countries, February
19-March 6. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from the most recent date.
TURKEY: "Turkish Military Is Uneasy"
Hasan Cemal analyzed in mass appeal Milliyet
(3/5): "The Turkish military is disturbed by the fact that the
authorization decree (to permit deployment of American troops in Turkey or
Turkish troops in Northern Iraq) was rejected by the parliament. The military wants to be in northern Iraq due
to Turkey's national security interests.
With the decree rejected, Turkish military presence in northern Iraq has
lost its grounds for legitimacy.... Interestingly enough, we keep receiving
negative indications about the Turkish army's intervention in northern
Iraq. Marc Grossman, for instance,
emphasized two points as Washington's view: Turkey should not act unilaterally
in northern Iraq; and Turkey is about to lose its chance to participate in the
Iraq process.... Along with the recent anti-Turkish demonstrations in the
region, we should be able to read Washington's message as follows: 'In the
absence of Turkish permission for US northern front, the U.S. will not be
helpful to Turkey on northern Iraq.'...
Due to the developments, the Washington-Ankara line for a second effort
for the permission is underway. AKP
leader Erdogan's latest remark as he was saying to the party members, 'We
cannot afford to sit and watch the developments' is not a coincidence."
Zeynep Gurcanli wrote in tabloid Star
(3/5): "It is very realistic to believe that the AKP government is
preparing to sit at the table with the United States again. And it will be under Erdogan's
premiership. It is also not a
coincidence that the government imposed additional taxes immediately after the
permission declined at the parliament.... Most likely the second decree will be
presented to the parliament and with the help of Erdogan's pressure upon the
deputies, it will be accepted, with a larger majority. This will also serve Erdogan to reclaim his
leadership. In sum, sooner or later, we
will see the American soldiers on Turkish soil."
"The Ankara-Washington Line For A Second
Hasan Cemal wrote in mass appeal Milliyet
(3/4): "It seems that the AKP administration is going through a kind of
brain-storming to determine the best possible atmosphere to re-introduce the
authorization decree to the parliament.
There is speculation about a second decree to be introduced in the event
that certain steps are taken by the Bush administration with respect to the
Turkomen and Iraqi Kurds, as well as some new economic gestures. Another fact here is that the Turkish
military is unhappy about the denial of permission by the parliament. ... The
chances for introducing a second decree are very small prior to the election in
Siirt province on March 9. Yet the fact
of the matter is that the chances might be completely gone if Washington closes
the door to Turkey."
"A Proud Yet Strategically Short-Sighted
Erhan Basyurt commented in Islamic-intellectual Zaman
(3/4): "The parliament made a proud decision, yet it also contains
the risk of being short-sighted in terms of Turkey's strategic interests. The decision validates Turkey's concerns
about northern Iraq. The recent
anti-Turkey demonstrations and other signs indicate that the Iraqi Kurds will
focus more on achieving independence.... It would be wrong, however, for the
government to produce a similar authorization decree in the short term. Leaving it to the flow of time and waiting
until certain issues are clarified looks like a more reasonable approach at
this stage. In that respect, Turkish
parliamentary approval for the second decree might be an easier task if the
UNSC passes a second resolution on March 7."
"Who Is Behind The Anti-Turkish Sentiment:
Kurds Or The US?"
Fatih Altayli argued in mass appeal Hurriyet
(3/4): "The United States has started playing its 'Kurdish card' in an
ugly way. It is the U.S. who deliberately
provokes the anti-Turkey sentiment in northern Iraq. Evidently this is part of U.S. planning, but
the demonstrations went beyond the limits by burning the Turkish flag. The timing of these events is worth thinking
about.... Oddly enough, the Turkish parliament's decision prevents an
American-Turkish intervention in northern Iraq, and this is exactly what the
Kurdish groups want. Thus they should be
thanking the Turkish parliament instead of burning the flags.... The United
States is playing a dirty game in northern Iraq."
"The Parliamentary Vote"
Yilmaz Oztuna wrote in mass appeal, conservative Turkiye
(3/3): "The parliamentary vote is a
reflection of the national will, but we should not refrain from interpreting
the decision.... It is possible to sum
up the criticism of the parliament's decision as follows: The decision does not
reflect Turkey's future interests, nor does it shape a perspective based on
Turkey's future security requirements.
The government failed to enlighten the parliamentarians about the
facts. The speaker of the parliament
acted as if he were the opposition leader.
The president made certain discouraging remarks, and the National
Security Council did not take an active position on a very crucial
matter.... We were all caught very
unprepared. This decision will certainly
have an impact domestically as well as internationally."
"The Decree Crisis"
Hasan Unal advised in Islamic-intellectual Zaman
(3/3): "The parliament's decision
deserves respect, but it is not exempt from criticism. Unfortunately, the AKP party board handled
the issue badly, and failed to control its own members after carrying out an
intense negotiation process with the U.S.
The parliamentarians should think of the issue in a very broad
perspective. Their action will not be
enough to stop the war, and if Turkey stays uninvolved in an inevitable war, it
is to our harm. Foreign policy should
not be formulated by ideological considerations, or by looking at reaction in
Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak
(3/3): "The Turkish parliament was
asked for permission for the deployment of foreign troops, while the people of
Turkey stand against the war by almost one hundred percent. What is peculiar is not that the permission
failed, but the fact that the request was brought before parliament in the
first place.... Turkey's decision
enhances the values of democracy and boosts hope for a settlement without
war. Let's hope that now the U.S. begins
to think with common sense, and acts under the principles of international
values, human rights, and the supremacy of law."
"There Is A Chance To Delay The War"
Fehmi Koru suggested in Islamic-intellectual Yeni
Safak (2/28): "Even the
founding principles of the Turkish republic have been forgotten. Oddly enough, Turkey debated the possibility
of preventing a war during the Gulf crisis.....
There is not much difference regarding the essential principles and
sensitivities about the situation today.... Yet I am still looking for an
authorized representative who will stand up and ask the very basic question:
'What has Turkey got to do with somebody else's war?'... The parliamentarians better listen to the
warning of President Sezer very carefully and wait until international
legitimacy has been ensured. The
authorization debate at the parliament must be postponed until the next UN
"The U.S. weighs Importance Of Turkey And
Sedat Ergin analyzed the reasons for the
anti-Turkish sentiment among some Iraqi Kurdish groups in mass appeal Hurriyet
(2/28): "The plans for a post-war Iraq designed by the U.S. and Turkey are
not compatible with the plans of the Iraqi Kurds. The Kurds will have to give up certain
privileges they acquired as a result of the power vacuum, including de-facto
sovereignty status, since 1991.
Ironically, they might even prefer that Saddam Hussein stays in
power.... It is possible that the Iraqi
Kurds are deliberately aggravating the
tension with Turkey in order to win more support from the U.S. They hope to change the balance in their
favor after the war.... Just like
Turkish decision-makers, the Kurds might be suspicious about U.S. intentions in
a post-war Iraq. They are afraid that
the U.S. will abandon the Kurds by giving major concessions to Turkey. The U.S. needs the northern front and wants
to increase its strategic cooperation with Turkey to topple Saddam
Hussein. Thus, the strategic importance
of Turkey weighs more than the importance of the Kurdish groups in the eyes of
the U.S. Nevertheless, Turkey should not
forget the possibility that the situation might change after the war."
"Rejection Of U.S. Troops Would Still Drag Turkey Into
Ertugrul Ozkok wrote in mass-appeal Hurriyet
(2/27): "The fact of the matter is
that regardless of the Turkish parliament's decision, there is no possibility
of stopping the war from happening. Thus
Turkey should ask the following question to itself: Can Turkey stay out of the
war if the parliament declines permission?...
I will be very clear on this matter: The rejection of the permission by
the Turkish parliament will only pave the way for Turkey's full engagement in
the war. When Turkey tries to stay out
of it, developments in the region take place completely out of Turkey's control
and influence, which will eventually force Turkey to engage in an armed
conflict in northern Iraq. The final
chance for Saddam to work for a peaceful settlement will be available when
Turkey decides to allow the U.S. to open a northern front. This is the only way to show the insane
dictator that the situation is indeed serious.... If Turkey decides to stay out of it, there
will be a very high cost for us to pay in the next 50 years."
"We Are Going To War"
Can Dundar argued in mass appeal Milliyet
(2/27): "This is like raping a
girl, i.e. Iraq. And the rapist, i.e.
the U.S., is trying to convince us about the legitimacy of its action. We are given assurances that it is going to
be something enjoyable. In fact, our
role is like holding the girl’s arms while she is being raped.... It is so sad to see the AKP leadership
working to attain permission for the deployment of American troops. They are acting under threats and blackmail
from Washington, and threats from President Bush himself. Bush clearly told Ministers Yakis and Babacan
that without Turkey's permission for U.S. troops, Turkey would suffer the
consequences: the U.S. acting together with northern Iraqi Kurds; the
termination of IMF support; and the passage of an Armenian resolution in the
Congress. In sum, he advised the Turkish
ministers to 'go back home and pass the permission from parliament.' We have been living under the shadow of the
very same blackmail: a Kurdish state, Armenian resolution etc... The fact of the matter is that the U.S. will
leave eventually, and Turkey will have to live side by side with Kurds and
Armenians. If we manage to take this
trump card from the U.S. hands, we can possibly overcome this dilemma. It is possible to turn the region into a
center of attraction where everybody--Turks, Kurds, Armenians and Arabs--live
together in harmony and brotherhood.
This is the only way not to bow to this aggression for the sake of
"Just One More Step"
Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak
(2/24): "It may be called
'negotiations' between Turkey and the U.S., yet a closer look will provide us
the truth. It is about a tactical game
played by the U.S. in order to manipulate Turkey in its own war. "
The independent Financial Times stated
(3/5): "The Turkish parliament's weekend vote against allowing 60,000 US
troops to use south-east Turkey to launch an attack on Iraq may be changed by a
new vote. What will not change, however,
is the precariousness of Turkey's public finances, weighed down by government
debt of about $100 billion. The possible loss, therefore of a $24 billion
package of US grants and soft loans, intended to compensate Turkey for the
economic fallout from an Iraq war that is all but certain to go ahead anyway,
could be a hammer blow to its recovering economy. Turkey may well change its
stance on U.S. troops and get the attached aid package. That would help it restructure its debt. But whether it does or not, the government
must stick to the IMF program. It is not
just an austerity package but a series of reforms that could lay the foundation
for the more prosperous and just country Mr. Edrogan has promised. At the same
time, the events of the last few days should serve as a reminder that Turkey is
too important strategically to be allowed to slide towards default--and add to
the regional stability as Iraq war is bound to cause. But, with or without war,
Turkey is going to need help."
"Age Of Diplomacy"
The conservative Times held (3/3): "The situation in Turkey is undoubtedly
awkward but not a crisis. Abdullah Gul,
the Turkish Prime Minister, has needed considerable courage to move a vote at
all.... It may be a matter of enormous
frustration to the U.S. that it is required to keep thousands of troops
stationed off the Turkish coast which it had hoped would form the core of a
northern front against Saddam. That
irritation must not, however, be translated into statements which might be
interpreted as an attempt to back legislators into a corner.... A similar process may be required with the UN
Security Council.... The Bush
administration needs to deploy its best diplomatic asset, Colin Powell, the
Secretary of State, over the next few days, exercise patience and resist
stating in public what it must, understandably, be thinking in private about
some of its erstwhile allies.... There
are times when banging your head against what appears to be a diplomatic brick
wall is the only way through it."
"Unseemly Haggling Between Allies"
The independent Financial Times argued (2/24): "All is not going very smoothly in the
planning and preparation for a possible war in Iraq. The latest stand-off between the U.S. and
Turkey--its closest and most loyal ally in the immediate vicinity--is a case in
point. Instead of winning solid support
from Ankara for military intervention to disarm Saddam Hussein and enforce the
writ of the United Nations, Washington has been dragged into sordid
negotiations over compensation. It looks
bad. Both sides are to blame for it."
FRANCE: "Shady Goings On"
Patrick Sabatier observed in left-of-center Liberation
(3/4): "The week did not start well for President Bush.... His offensive at the UN is mired in
accusations ranging from putting pressure to espionage and is facing the
determination of the anti-war group, led by President Chirac. His hopes for an
anti-Saddam coalition are stalled because of Turkey's position and the Arab
League's stand against war. And on top of everything else, the Pope is calling
for a crusade for peace... Meanwhile Saddam is maneuvering, as usual... And so,
once again 'the inspections are progressing...' But only because of the threat
of an attack by 220,000 soldiers... Shady goings on by Bush, shady goings on by
Saddam: all of this should urge the UN to find a compromise in order to avoid a
crisis that may be fatale to the international organization."
"Turkey’s Stab In The Back"
Jean-Jacques Mevel stated in right-of-center Le Figaro
(3/3): “After so many other foreign
setbacks, Turkey’s position, while felt as a stab in the back, probably comes
too late to keep the U.S. from striking alone when the time comes.... But the Turkish vote was felt as a true
disappointment by Washington. Turkey is
not only a major NATO ally, it is also a democracy, the model which President
Bush would like to bring to the rest of the Muslim world.”
Charles Lambroschini observed in right-of-center Le Figaro
(3/3): “The U.S., a hegemony but a
democracy none-the-less, cannot launch a war without a legitimate
reason.... Turkey’s parliamentary vote
is going to hamper the Pentagon’s plans....
Turkey’s ‘Islamic moderates’ are in a sense more ‘European’ than the
eight who signed the letter of eight.
They have refused America’s more-than-generous offer.... The Arab League’s position is not helping
either.... Too many of the League’s
members know that America’s plans to remodel the Middle East would not be in
their best interest. The U.S. plans for
the region are in their eyes a French and British-style colonization.”
Christoph Rabe maintained in an editorial in
business Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (3/5): "The Ankara government
knows only too well that the United States has the upper hand with respect to
Iraq. However, Ankara is reluctant to
look like Washington's lapdog. It has to
decide what is more important - the prospect of long-term economic
consolidation or democratic principles. The Turkish parliament, voting for a
second time, is likely to give in to Erdogan's wishes and monetary temptations,
convincing the Turkish public of two things:
The new government is not much more steadfast than many of its
predecessor and lacks political skills when under pressure.... No matter what the AKP decides in the end, it
will emerge from the Iraq debate a less credible force, which is not a good
omen for Turkey's political culture."
"Turkey Proved To Be Worthy Of Europe"
H. Fakioglu commented on regional radio station
Hessischer Rundfunk of Frankfurt (3/3/): “Turkey refused to be bought. Even though it may not be able to maintain
its ‘no’ because of its economic dependence on the United States and is unable
to stop war against Iraq, it made clear that it considers military moves to be
too risky.... The fact that the Turkish
generals stayed out of the controversy over the U.S. deployment of forces and
left the decision to politicians corresponds to EU demands. In Brussels, [the EU] should examine and
honor the vote from Ankara. Turkey
proved to be worthy of Europe.”
"Delay Of The Beginning Of The War"
Klaus-Juergen Haller said in a commentary on
regional radio station Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (3/3): “The vote from
Ankara was also a revolt against the leadership in the governing party.... A repetition of the vote would mean the
dismantling of the Turkish government.
Is that a reason for George W. Bush to give up [his plans]? There are no indications for such a
move. But a delay of the beginning of
the war is getting increasingly likely.”
“Defeat At The Northern Front”
Ankara correspondent Christiane Schloetzer filed
the following editorial for center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich
(3/4): “The Turks were considered the most loyal political and military partner
of the United States at Europe’s periphery.
That is why the Turkish ‘no’ hits the United States harder than all
anti-war commitments from Berlin. The
defeat at the Iraqi northern front will not stop war if Washington really wants
it. But it is now making George W. Bush
even more lonesome. In the case of
Turkey, the United States also used a strategy that was composed of thumbscrews
and dollars. But with such a strategy,
the Turks felt treated like the inhabitants of a banana republic."
Guenter Nonnenmacher judged on the front-page of center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (3/3): "To have
Turkey take part in a war against a neighboring Muslim country and then raise
the Kurdish question, first as far as geo-politics is concerned and then to
raise it in domestic policy, this was something the leadership in Ankara could
use the least of all. Even if the
Turkish parliament corrected the negative vote from Saturday, the political
damage has been done; the list of victims of the U.S. brute force diplomacy has
become longer. It could be a triumph for
Saddam Hussein if his political end were not near.”
Christiane Schloetzer noted in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (3/3): “Following a meeting of
the National Security Council, the generals in Turkey did not present the line
to be taken in parliament. Obviously,
the military did not want to assume responsibility for the support of the U.S.
war plans, which are highly unpopular among the Turks. The parliamentarians demonstrated that they
are less afraid of Washington than of their own voters.... Immediately after the vote, the head of the
governing [AKP] party Erdogan...backed the vote. Erdogan knows that a second vote would be
highly risky. If it failed again, his
government would have lost its legitimacy.
If it managed to force the AKP to take a different vote, it would also
have lost because the current vote is being celebrated in Turkey as a victory
"Fear Of Consequences"
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (3/3) opined: “The domestic, foreign and economic policy
consequences of this vote in parliament are not yet foreseeable. New trouble is looming in relations with the
United States. President Bush feels left
in the lurch by his most important and strongest ally in the region. The decision of the parliament in Ankara will
certainly not prompt him to rethink the sense and the risks of a planned war. But maybe it will urge him to show a cold
shoulder to Turkey in the future when the issue is financial assistance for
this country that has been chronically ravaged by crises.”
"Turkey More Afraid Of War Against Iraq Than Of Iraq"
Center-left Neue Ruhr/Neue Rhein-Zeitung of Essen argued
(3/3): “The ‘no’ of the Turkish parliament…should give the United States reason
to think. One of the most loyal U.S.
allies of the past decades, which, in addition, is financially dependent on the
Americans, showed the United States a cold shoulder. Turkey is more afraid of a war against Iraq
than of Iraq. This vote in Ankara is
important not only because of the significance of the NATO country Turkey for
the U.S. attack plans and the planned northern front against Baghdad. Turkey is the only neighboring state of Iraq
in which the government cannot simply ignore pressure form the people. Even
though opposition to the U.S. war plans is as great in the Gulf nations and in
Jordan, there is one important difference: The Turks are voters, while the
people in the Arab countries are inferiors.”
"Northern Frontline Against Iraq"
Eric Bonse commented in Duesseldorf
Handelsblatt (2/25): "All in
all, Turkey is a model of how one should not act. With his war plans Rumsfeld not only offends
the only democracy in the Muslim world; in addition, he bought the approval of
the Turkish government by means of a dubious dollar diplomacy. It is even said that he made concessions
regarding the Kurdish issue. If Rumsfeld
really were to permit Turkey to intervene in northern Iraq, this would be a
betrayal of the Kurds--and a low blow for all those who dream of a moral
"When Haggling Is Involved, Friendship Ends"
Christiane Schloetzer argued in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (2/21):
"Turkey is hesitating to give Washington a carte blanche...because
it is afraid that Washington will not stick to its political and financial
pledges later, as it was after the Gulf War in 1991...while Washington does not
want to bind itself financially too much and considers Turkey’s demand out of
proportion.... For Ankara, even more is
at stake than the best dollar deal: the
new conservative government...does not want to lose support of the people right
at the start, and the Turks are almost 100 percent against war.... That is why the haggling in the bazaar that
the Ankara government has now accepted is a risky play for the
government.... The Turkish government is
torn between the anger of its own people and the fury of its most powerful
ally.... The bickering in the background
has almost got the character of blackmail."
"Bush Has Already Caused A Lot Of Damage. To America"
Massimo Fini commented in conservative,
top-circulation syndicate La Nazione/Il Resto del Carlino/Il Giorno
(3/4): "Even before beginning the war on Iraq, the Americans have already
damaged themselves. They damaged historical friendships (with France and
Germany), strategically important alliances like the one with Turkey, they
embarrassed faithful governments as the Italian one and even the British one,
they reunited the Arab world...they split NATO laying the premises for its
dissolution and they almost stamped down the UN, which was their creation, and
which now fuels anti-Yankee hate all over the world.... And Turkey was put in a
very thorny situation.... Can it favor a war whose consequences would be
greatly to its detriment? Dollars cannot buy everything, as the Americans
believe... Are a few extra oil wells worth alienating friends, favoring the
real enemies, splitting NATO, provoking world disorder and killing tens or
hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians?"
"The President Tripped By Turkey"
Vittorio Zucconi wrote in left-leaning,
influential La Repubblica (3/2):
“The rebellion by the Turkish Parliament, as we wait for a likely
‘countervote’ this week, creates a strategic complication, but also constitutes
a bad political defeat, since it is the most severe and visible confirmation of
how large the gap is between European and American feelings. The clash is no longer just between two
different visions of the Iraqi crisis and two possible solutions, but between
two worlds that move according to different timetables. In Europe, they still believe, or pretend to
believe, that the invasion of Iraq can be averted with a vote, a concession or
a resolution. In the United States, they
are acting as if we were already in the post-war situation, as if the invasion
and occupation of Iraq had already occurred....
Turkey is the spy of the uneasiness that the messianic tone implied in a
crusade for the ‘liberation of Arabia’ is provoking among those who should
receive Bush as a liberator."
"Kurdish-U.S. Relations Rather Unstable"
Foreign affairs writer Koen Vidal in independent De Morgen
(3/4): "Arms for the Kurds is
certainly not America's preferred option.
First, because that may jeopardize the relationship with Turkey.... Second, Kurdish-U.S. relations are rather
unstable. The Kurds are very grateful to
the United States for protecting the No-Fly Zones, but the fact that the United
States showed that it prefers to invade Iraq together with the Turks rather
than with the Kurds has irritated the Kurds.... After the Turkish Parliament's
negative decision, the United States must not only think about a possible
cooperation with the Kurds but also assess what Turkey will do when the war
against Iraq starts. There is fear that,
in that event, the Turkish government will decide to cross its border with Iraq
to lay its hands on a number of oil fields."
"Coalition Of The Few"
Foreign affairs writer Koenraad Nijssen observed in conservative
Christian-Democrat Het Belang van Limburg (3/3): “This is going to be a war between the most
fanatic followers of a bloodthirsty dictator and a coalition of the few. Even Turkey--always an extremely loyal ally
and a country that has much to lose if it loses Washington’s favor--is no
longer marching along."
Foreign editor Jean Vanempten commented in financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd (2/28): “The endless negotiations with the Turkish
government show that money plays a key role in the search for support for the
American invasion of Iraq.... For a
number of ‘undecided’ countries, Cameroon, Pakistan, Chile, Guinea, Mexico and
Angola, American financial aid may be crucial.
Those countries are hoping for massive development aid or major loans
from the IMF, or the lifting of a U.S. embargo.
In each case, there is clear economic profit for those who support the U.S.
in a war against Iraq.”
GEORGIA: "The Ankara Time Trouble"
Shota Utiashvili reported in independent
left-of-center, liberal opposition 24 Hours (3/5): "After Americans
have already spent millions of dollars fixing Turkey's aerodromes and harbors,
Turkey quite unexpectedly refused to allow the Pentagon to use them.... Why is Ankara risking so much? As experts understand, no one in Turkey's
political establishment has a desire to assume the responsibility for
decision-making. In fact, everyone agrees to the Americans' use of the bases;
however, given the situation where 90 per cent of the population opposes the
war, it's hard for any politician to endorse 62,000 American soldiers in the
country. ... There is yet another more serious reason to that: a crack in the
"Existence Is At Stake In Ankara"
Ankara correspondent Evelyn Forro judged in
left-leaning Nepszava (3/3): “The
Turkish government has not been in such a crisis situation as it is right now
since the Gulf War in 1991. Back then,
IRELAND: "International Support Drains Away From Bush"
Conor O'Cleary observed in the center-left Irish
Times (3/4): "Not since the beginning of President George Bush's drive
towards confrontation with Iraq last September has the prospect of
international support for his administration looked so bleak. The vote by the
parliament in Turkey....has dealt a serious blow to war planning and to the
perception in Washington that nations could be persuaded, cajoled or bought off
to join a US-led coalition. The decision
of the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, to begin destroying his stock of
al-Samoud 2 missiles...has also strengthened the case at the UN that
inspections are working and that they should be given more time. The United
Stated can only be sure of the votes of four of the 15 Security Council
members....The White House admitted that the vote in Turkey had taken the
administration by surprise..... French and Russian opposition to the U.S.
motion has not diminished. In recent days Russia has lobbied Bulgaria and
Pakistan to vote against the resolution, countering the assumption in
Washington that, in the end, Moscow could be persuaded not to oppose the United
"Setting The UN Agenda On Iraq"
The center-left Irish Times editorialized
(3/3): "The Turkish parliament's decision to reject deployment of United
States troops on its territory is a major political and military setback for US
plans to invade Iraq. It clearly reflects widespread popular opposition in
Turkey to a war....In this fog of war propaganda, the only disinterested
judgments will come from Dr Blix and his colleagues.... Both the Security Council and its inspectors
must be allowed space, time and opportunity to make their minds up
independently. It would be naive to call for an end to the naked political,
economic and diplomatic pressure on its members to go along with the US and
British case that Iraq cannot be trusted - or with the alternative argument put
by France, Germany, Russia and China that the case for the immediate use of
force is not proven and would be counter-productive. But it is essential that
countries such as Ireland, so recently on the council and with such a
long-standing tradition of putting such store on the UN as a source of
international legitimacy, should stand by the integrity of the arms
NORWAY: "Turkey's No"
The independent VG (3/3) commented:
"During the weekend the Turkish Parliament said no to an agreement that
would have given the USA the possibility to send about 60,000 soldiers to the
country in preparation for an invasion of Iraq from the north... If one cannot
use Turkey as a base, many fear that the war will be both longer and more
bloody... The voting result is a large defeat for the Turkish Government and of
course for the US... From the Turkish government's side the purpose of such an
agreement is to secure a central role when the plans for the 'new' Iraq are
laid. Now many American observers believe that Turkey can give up that hope.
For this reason it might be that the Turkish Government has everything to win
in a replay in the Parliament."
"Turkey Stops U.S. War Plan"
The newspaper-of-record Aftenposten
commented (3/3): "Prime Minister Abdullah Gul will have to use what he has
of political cleverness to find a solution that potentially can meet the U.S.
desires at the same time as he takes consideration of the very strong anti-war
atmosphere in the Turkish population.... Prime Minister Gul is undoubtedly
right when he says that 'the Turkish -American friendship is strategic'. As a Muslim -- but secular --state, Turkey is
important for President George W. Bush's visions about a restructuring of the
whole Middle East to an area consisting of stable democratic states.... The U.S. plans must be changed, and it will
most likely be more difficult to carry them through. This again can lead to a
delay of the war plans. It was a great disappointment for Bush, but not for the
many who would rather disarm Saddam without going to war."
"Americans Didn't Anticipate Failure"
Foreign policy analyst Roxana Frosin commented in
business-oriented Curentul (3/3):
"Certain that the generous financial package offered to Turkey,
coupled with the promise to oppose any Kurdish separatist movements, would
represent a strong enough motivation for Ankara, the Americans didn't
anticipate failure at all. They had even
prepared a thank you note, through which the U.S. would ‘warmly welcome the
decision of the Turkish Parliament to authorize the deployment of American
forces in Turkey, in the event of a military operation against Iraq.’”
SERBIA & MONTENEGRO: "Chips Of Freedom"
Pro-government Politika commented on the
economic aspects of an eventual war in Iraq (3/2): "If we disregard
casualties for a moment, war is nothing else but business where someone wins
and someone loses...For example the Turks recently strongly bargained for
American gratitude presented in dollars, which according to them should not be
less than a 'lousy' $30 billion."
Belgrade's independent weekly Vreme commented (2/27): “It seems that the deal is already made.… The
Turkish role in preparations for a war against Iraq, in which it goes against
its own public opinion, becomes almost historical. Turkey negotiates directly and requests
guarantees on the future composition of the state against which it will conduct
a war.... Washington took a step ahead
and accepted Turkish civilian role in a post-war Iraq and approved the
participation of Turkish representatives in transitional governance.”
SLOVENIA: "Turkey's No To A Superpower"
Left-of-center Delo opined in a
commentary by Avgust Pudgar (3/4):
"Turkey's no to the superpower is a brave political act....
Turkey's political leaders are aware that it will not be without consequences.
The representatives of the Bush Administration were shocked by the refusal; and
then--instead of [admitting that] a democratic procedure has to be
respected--they furiously demanded additional explanation from Ankara. At the same time, the leading American
conservatives have--with their hidden threats-- demonstrated that they wanted a
war against Saddam Hussein at any price, so that the superpower...could
celebrate a triumph, and rich oil businessmen in the United States and
elsewhere could earn even more with high prices of oil.... Turkey's vote is
good for democracy, but risky for Turkey's economy....Turkey's political
leaders have sent a precious message to the world about Turkey's new identity
within parliamentary democratic procedure... Turkey's 'no' to the superpower
should also be observed through the prism [of democracy], despite the fact that
American...arrogant politicians are offended at the moment. Ankara will have to pay a high price for its
upright political posture."
Centrist La Vanguardia asserted (3/3): "Logic dictates that in the end, Turkey
will accept a collaboration that, geo-strategically, seems inevitable. But this new delay constitutes an undeniable
reverse for Pentagon plans....
Definitely, it is another puzzle for a dispute that is playing in so
many diplomatic and strategic fronts, even before the first bomb has
ISRAEL: "The U.S. Will
Get Along Fine Without Turkey"
Zeev Schiff remarked in independent Ha'aretz (3/3):
"Should Turkey persist in its refusal to accept U.S. troops in its
territory, it could suffer direct and indirect economic losses; on the one
hand, Turkey could lose a significant part of its influence on future
developments in northern Iraq's Kurdish areas.
Its vital interests could subsequently come to harm. The United States says that...it could put
its war plans in Iraq to effect in other ways.... [Turkey] doesn't have the importance another
Muslim state--Pakistan--had during the Afghanistan War. U.S...forces could enter Iraq from other
directions and it is believed that the main battle will take place around
Baghdad.... On the other hand, should
Turkey's objection lead to the annulment of the northern front.... Iraq could send more forces to the Baghdad
area. Such a move could prolong the war
and cause greater losses."
"The Turkish Government Crisis"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram's
columnist Hazem Abdel Rahman (3/5): "Will Turkey stay fast before American
demands to allow American troops in its territories? The answer is very
difficult. The agreement vote led to a
major crisis in the Turkish stock market....
Making it more difficult was the way the Turkish government dealt with
the situation, as a naïve merchant, who thought he found a treasure to settle
his economic crisis. The government set off to woo the anti-American sentiments
on the street...and went as far as stopping any economic plans or programs to
settle the bad economic situation....
when the referendum occurred, the government thought it obtained the
approval it wanted, but the truth came otherwise, and rendered it
confused. The Turkish government seems
to be paying for its dangerous game....
Now, there are several possibilities: if the U.S. insists on deploying
its troops in Turkish territories, the parliament may vote approval in 14 days.
The Turkish army may come to the stage of events and the government could
fall.... how many dollars will the
Turkish government obtain from the U.S.?"
"Once Bitten, Twice Shy"
Suhayr Jabr wrote in pro-government Al-Akhbar
(2/25): "Because of its strategic
alliances with the West and America, its deteriorating economy, Turkey will
have to agree to the deployment of U.S. forces and heavy equipment already in
the Turkish territorial waters for more than a week, waiting for the permission
to go in.... Why is the Turkish ally
being so difficult? Once bitten, twice
shy, as the saying goes. Turkey was
stung before by America during the 1991-second war in the gulf. The government of Bush Senior failed to
deliver the promised aid in exchange for Ankara's acceptance to go to war
against Iraq. Thus, Turkey decided to
have guarantees in writing from Bush Junior, and make up for the losses of 1991.... Turkey is now in a much stronger position
than America is. It can impose its
demands, and get a bigger slice of the pie!"
The English-language Saudi Gazette commented (3/3): "The U.S. and Britain may term the
[Arab] summit resolution as a 'setback' to their war plans, but a greater shock
to them came when the Turkish parliament denied American troops facilities to
open the 'northern front' against Iraq from Turkish soil.... This development certainly strengthens the
Arab position. The Turkish vote
indicates which way the wind is blowing in this region."
Movements Fear Washington Might Abandon Them"
Baghdad's semi-official Babil's Internet
website commented (2/26): "The
Iraqi renegade movements, which are supposed to meet in Iraq's Kurdistan on
Tuesday, are afraid that they might lose the United States' support, which they
have enjoyed during the past few months.
The renegades' follow-up and coordination committee is supposed to meet
in Arbil, which is considered Kurdistan's capital city outside Baghdad's
control since 1991. Officials in Arbil
are often heard saying: 'They are again
stabbing us in the back.' After paying
the Iraqi renegades' front, the United States began to give them the impression
that it might sacrifice them through the concessions it will make to Turkey in
return for its consent to allow the U.S. troops to open a northern front
against Iraq in case of war.... The
Kurds are afraid that the Turkish forces might take control of the two oil-rich
cities of Mosul and Kirkuk, which the Kurds consider part of their
"Entry Of Turkish Forces Will Complicate Matters, Benefit No
Sulaymaniya's Kurdistani Nuwe held
(2/25): "The news of the Turkish
intention to invade Kurdistan and...the baseless excuses used by some Turkish
officials have...created a united official and popular reaction in Kurdistan
and also among Kurdish communities abroad....
We must stress here that concern for preventing the creation of tension
in the region is not the responsibility of the people of Kurdistan alone, nor
is it the duty of Iraqis alone. But it
is first and foremost the responsibility of the U.S. because creating confusion
and conflict will have a serious impact on the process of the strategy adopted
by the U.S. regarding the question of Iraq.
That is why, we sincerely look to the U.S. to prevent the escalation of
tension in the region, especially since the people of Kurdistan and Iraq are
partners of the U.S. and its allies in the process of regime change."
"The Summit Of Those Who Fear War"
Talal Salman wrote in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(3/3): "Although the Arab position
[at the Sharm Al Sheikh summit] was less than hoped for and needed,
nevertheless, its results will discomfit the Americans and encourage the
Europeans. It will also have a positive
influence on Turkey, which is still resisting the heavy American pressure. If Turkey withstands American pressure it
will be really difficult to launch a war on Iraq because all of the Iraqi
neighboring countries are against the war."
"Ethics--But They Are Costly"
Joseph Samaha observed in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(2/22): "The example that is so
unethical that it amounts to a global scandal, remains the 'dialogue' that
Washington is leading to persuade Turkey to effectively join the war. In order to please Turkey, the Americans
abandoned every 'ethical' commitment toward the Kurds. They allowed Ankara to send troops to
northern Iraq...and they promised that the Kurdish forces would not enter
Kirkuk.... Turkey set a price and the
United States set a price.... The whole
world lived the details of the bazaar, the results of which might control the
'democratic' fate of the Middle East and determine if this democracy will be
achieved and at which price.... Erdogan,
for his part, remained firm, insisting that the promises of payment be made in
Arrogance That Goes Against International Legitimacy"
Front page column in Arabic language, government-coaliton Al
Ittihad Al Ishtiraki (3/3): "The State Department's spokesman has
confirmed that the U.S. will seek a clarification regarding the Turkish
parliament's vote against deployment ofsixty two thousand U.S. GI's in Turkey
and use of Turkish military bases tostrike Iraq. The U.S. perhaps believes that
Turkish members of parliament represent the U.S. people and not the Turkish
people.... This is mere U.S.arrogance that goes against international
legitimacy and world values and charters. The U.S. again dictates lessons on
everybody to learn by heart, otherwise no one is safe from punishment!"
CHINA (MACAU SAR):
"U.S. Suffers Setbacks In Its Plan To Attack Iraq"
The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News
remarked in an editorial (3/3): "To
the surprise of the White House, the Turkish Parliament last weekend vetoed a
motion by the Cabinet that would have allowed U.S. troops staging rights in
Turkey for an attack on Iraq. The
motion, defeated by just three votes, represents a serious setback for U.S.
plans.... The reason for its defeat is
widespread popular opposition to U.S. intervention in Iraq. About 90 percent of Turks are Muslims, 85
percent of whom belong to the same denomination as the Iraqis. Given their common religion, Turks naturally
sympathize with the Iraqi people. In
addition, the war will likely affect Turkey and its neighbors, dealing a heavy
blow to the regional economy. The
already-weak Turkish economy will weaken further, affecting people's
livelihoods. Moreover, Turkey is still
suffering the lingering effects of the last Gulf War, including an influx of
Iraqi refugees. Dissent among the Kurds in Turkey has intensified. All this will lead to social unrest in
Turkey. According to a public poll, 90
percent of Turks oppose support by their government for a U.S. attack on
Iraq. During the Parliamentary debate,
some 50,000 people staged an anti-war rally.
Given this, how could the members
of the Turkish Parliament ignore the will of the people on this issue?"
"Turkey Demands Exorbitant Price"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News commented
(2/23): "Turkey's bargain has
seriously impeded the U.S. war plan....
Faced with Turkish foot-dragging, the Bush administration is giving
itself two options. The first is to take
a tough stance toward the Turkish government, stating that the U.S.$26 billion
loan is the limit of U.S. assistance, with no room for further discussion. Turkey should reply soon. The second choice is to go with war plan
B: attacking Iraq from the north and
south. The U.S. military from the north
will not cross Turkey, entering through Kuwait or via air from a U.S. sea
base. At present, the U.S. troops in the
Turkish port are waiting for the order to move their base. War plan B, however, this plan will
dramatically increase U.S. military spending and the number of casualties, as
well as extend the war. This move will
therefore be the last option."
JAPAN: "Impact Of Turkey's Rejection Of
U.S. Troop Deployment"
The business-oriented Nihon Keizai
editorialized (3/4): "Turkey's unexpected rejection of the deployment of
U.S. troops for a possible Iraq war dealt a serious blow to the Bush
administration. The U.S. promise of extending a large aid plan for Turkey had
not worked wonders. Saddam Hussein has begun disposing of Al Samoud missiles
since the end of last week as if to show Iraq is complying with the 'voice of
the world.' Now, attention is being shifted to UNMOVIC chief Blix's Friday
submission of an additional report to the UNSC and how the U.S. will try to win
EU nations over and have the UNSC adopt a new resolution authorizing the use of
force against Baghdad."
"Gravity Of 'No' To U.S. Troop
in the liberal Asahi observed (3/4), "Turkey, a nation troubled by
snow-balling foreign debts and a 'close-to-bankrupt' economy, might have felt
like 'jumping at' a large aid plan offered by the U.S. But this Islamic NATO
nation turned down the deployment of U.S. troops for a possible war with Iraq.
This may be indicative of deep concerns the Turkish people have toward the war.
Turkey is the only democratized Muslim nation in the Middle East. It is ironic
that the Turkish parliament voted against the deployment of U.S. troops, a
legislative act under democracy, throwing cold water on the U.S. that is trying
to remove Saddam Hussein from power and democratize the Middle East."
INDONESIA: "U.S. Astounded By Turkey's And Arab League's
Leading independent Kompas commented
(3/4): "The rejection by the Arab League and Turkey has empowered the
global movement against the war. Governments and peoples from all over the
world are united in the movement against the war and demand a solution to the
Iraqi crisis through a UN mechanism.... This action [destruction of Al-Samoud-2
missiles] has certainly drawn people's sympathy to Iraq. On the other hand, the U.S. sees this as a
mere trick by Iraq. Despite strong
opposition throughout the world, the U.S. continues to show its desire to
Against The Wall"
Former press secretary Ricardo Puno Jr., in his
column in the independent Manila Times wrote (3/5): "George W. Bush now knows events are
slipping out of his grasp.... In the
UNSC...among the five against (a U.S.-sponsored second resolution), three are
permanent members who have veto power...and...said they would use that
power.... The Turkish parliament has
rejected the U.S. request to base 60,000 troops in the country, thus scuttling
the American plans to open the northern front.... Judging from media reports, popular
sentiment is building up against the war all over the world.... The American public support for the war is
just over 50 percent, still okay but declining alarmingly.... Bush's incessant 'Axis of Evil' rhetoric has
boxed him in.... Maybe now he regrets
giving in to Colin Powell's suggestion...to allow the U.N. process to work. But
having allowed the process to begin, he has galvanized the U.N.,
unfortunately...on the side of avoiding war....
The complexity of this entire Iraqi question is what leads one to fear
that this President...may now begin to realize that the only way to restore
clarity in this thoroughly muddled situation is to push the red button, and let
loose the dogs of war."
SINGAPORE: "Obstacles To War"
The pro-government Straits Times (3/5)
editorial said: "The political and military obstacles to a United
States-led invasion of Iraq are multiplying.... Far from feeling discouraged or
chastened by these setbacks, however, Washington made it plain that it was, if
anything, more determined than ever to go to war.... The fact that Turkey, the
only democracy in the Middle East, has not found Mr. Bush's vision of a
transformed Middle East enticing enough to back US war plans shows how low
America's credibility has sunk in the world. Unless global sentiment changes
suddenly within the next few weeks, Washington will be launching its invasion
of Iraq with less support than it has ever had in its entire history.... Having raised the stakes so high - nothing
less than the transformation of the entire Middle East - how is Mr. Bush going
to accomplish such a colossal task without the support of his key allies, let
alone regional powers like Turkey? A diplomatic strategy that ignores the
doubts of many, that keeps changing the goalposts, that is endlessly flexible
in the justification it offers for war -change', regional transformation - is
not calculated to win the confidence of the global community. Washington has no
more than two weeks to win the legitimacy that only a Security Council
resolution can provide it. If it fails
in this effort, it will still win the war, but its winning the peace will be in
THAILAND: “Turkey Talks, U.S. Should Be Listening”
The lead editorial in independent,
English-language Nation read (3/4): “Ankara now has the choice of
seeking another vote when parliament reconvenes this week. But it’s unlikely to do so because of the
risk of being forced to step down should it lose a second vote. A wiser move would be for the government to
hear the will of the parliament and abandon its plan for a U.S.
deployment. Turkey, more than the rest
of the world, has reasons to fear the Iraqi president and his ambitions to
develop weapons of mass destruction. It
is worth remembering that the late Turkish President Turgut Ozal had urged the
United States to finish off the Iraqi despot the first time around. It didn’t.
The Turkish people and the legislators now obviously feel that the
diplomatic pressure on Iraq is working and that they, on the edge of the
battlefield, have too little to gain from a rush to war.”
VIETNAM: "Turkey In A
Thy An wrote in Hanoi's official Ha Noi Moi (2/19): "If Turkey does not take sides with the
U.S., it will lose the political support from the U.S. and fall into isolation
with regard to the issues of joining the EU and settling the dispute over
Cyprus. Also, refusing U.S. requests
will make huge U.S. economic and military aid being expected by Turkey
disappear.... In contrast, if the
Turkish government bows to submission under the pressure from the U.S. and
agrees with a military solution for the Iraq crisis, which is not approved by
the UN, it will not only be unable to explain it to its citizens but also be
isolated in the Muslim world."
INDIA: "Turkey Flaps
An editorial in the nationalist Hindustan Times (3/4):
"He may not care to admit it, but the fact is Bush's war plans suffered a
stunning reversal last weekend when the Turkish Parliament rejected the idea of
allowing U.S. troops onto Turkish territory....
If...Bush is wondering what went wrong with his carefully laid post-9/11
plans, perhaps he should recall the events of last September when he released
Washington's national security strategy that called for pre-emptive strikes
against America's enemies.... Was Washington sincerely looking for a resolution
to the Iraqi imbroglio, or for an excuse to start a war? These thoughts must
weigh heavily on the minds of US officials as the council vote on a second
resolution on Iraq draws closer ... Washington's concern is real, considering
the tenor of the debate so far."
Nafiseh Kuhnavard opined in Tehran's Pro-Khatami Iran
(2/26): "'The issue is not only the
amount of dollars. At any rate, the fact of the matter is that the Turks are
after a new role in the region, a role on which they have been investing for
years. Penetrating into northern Iraq and bringing that region under control
have been one of Turkey's long-standing aspirations....Turkey is now in the
process of preparing an army that one could say would be the biggest Turkish
army operation since Cyprus. But the fact is that Turkey's role was determined
not now but when the Turkish-Israeli alliance took shape. All these
preparations are in the context of making scientific the objectives behind
forming that crescent in the region and of increased Israeli penetration into
the Middle East. Otherwise, neither the viewpoints and decisions of the Turkish
Justice and Development party, nor even the new crises in the region have been
or would be the defining factor behind Turkey's role in the war with Iraq.
Meanwhile, the new Turkish government is now trying, by giving more cooperation
in the operations, to gain a bigger share and to strengthen its position
further in the region. Some experts
believe that over the recent years Ankara had ostensibly distanced itself from
the Turkish-Israeli crescent. It is now turning back to it with greater speed.
The truth of the matter is that Turkey would never enter into a war by force,
and even efforts at achieving peace were a cover up for Turkey's long-standing
objectives, and more important than that, those of America and Israel, in the
region, something that will not be confined to northern Iraq and the cities of
Kirkuk and Mosul."
The center-right, national Nation declared (3/3): "The value of a genuine democratic
process has been demonstrated by events in Turkey.... Though the vote has jeopardized an important
part of the U.S. invasion plan, its initial reaction has been to accept the
decision as the result of a democratic process. This makes Turkey the only
country since 9/11 which has refused the U.S. its requirement for invading a
neighbor.... Turkey has not just
offended an old ally, but has given up a $6 billion aid package, which also
facilitated the raising of $30 billion in commercial loans at low
interest. Pakistan's military government
was euphoric over peanuts; Turkey's legislature refused the key to the bank
vault. This was in a large measure
because Turkey remained dissatisfied with the United States' post-war
intentions. Turkey remains afraid that
if the U.S. backs the Kurds in northwestern Iraq in their desire to obtain
independence, it would destabilize Turkey's own Kurdish minority, and thus it
will not be a party. Pakistan did not
bother to consider how the U.S. invasion would affect its own Pashtuns."
"Turkish Parliament's Surprise Vote?"
The Lahore-based Daily Times editorialized (3/3): "What factors are responsible for the
Turkish parliament's decision? Of
course, there is popular opposition to the war in Turkey, with 96 per cent of
the people openly opposed to the war and U.S. troop deployment. But the most important reason has to do with
the Kurdish question, which is still hanging fire.... While the U.S. says it will not allow the
Kurds to take control of the northern oil wells and declare independence,
Ankara is not convinced. There is a
feeling that in the heat of the moment, the U.S. would not be averse to Kurdish
demands, just like it did nothing to prevent the Northern Alliance in
Afghanistan from taking control of Kabul despite earlier assurances that it
would prevent them from doing so."
"Courageous Stands By Turkey, The Arab League And
Second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt commented
(3/3): "The policies that the
Turkish Parliament and the Arab league have adopted are reflective of the
Muslims aspirations.... Obviously, it is
difficult for our military rulers and the quasi-democratic government to break
the American juggernaut because of the debt trap and our rulers friendship with
President Bush.... It would be better that
instead of General Musharraf and Prime Minister Jamali taking a decision in
this regard (on Iraq), the matter should be left to the Parliament, which
should be given a chance to take a decision in keeping with the aspirations of
The center-right national Nation editorialized (2/23): "The Turkish government has thrown a
rather surprising spanner into the works for the U.S.... The Turks are showing signs of acquiescence,
but not without making the Americans meet their concerns.... Turkey is at the moment dragging its feet by
using three excuses: the money offered by the U.S. (a whopping $26 billion) is
not enough (not to forget its strong hints about European Union membership); the
U.S. needs to make clearer its intentions to handle the aftermath of victory;
and the need to obtain approval from the Grand National Assembly. This forms a strong contrast with Pakistan's
own approach after 9/11, when a single phone call gave the U.S. everything it
wanted, without settling any terms and conditions for the future. The Turks may appear mercenary, but they have
certainly obtained a better offer than Pakistan managed to extract."
CANADA: "Ankara's Dilemma"
Editorialist Serge Truffaut wrote in the liberal French-language
Le Devoir (3/4): "The Ankara government intends to try again by
presenting a second motion to Parliament.
It is more than likely that this will take place after March 9, i.e.
after the partial election that will enable....Tayyip Erdogan to replace
Abdullah Gul as prime minister.... The agreement...would have allowed four
Turkish divisions to occupy the Iraqi Kurdistan. As paradoxical as it may seem at first
glance, many deputies voted no exactly because of this incentive for
colonization. Indeed, the consequence of
such an occupation of the Kurdish territory would have been to dash any hopes
of joining the European Union any time soon, something most Turks have been
dreaming about since 1962.... To rally
all the members of his party, Erdogan will obviously have to propose a motion
with more potential gains than those promised so far by Bush. The dilemma is simple: either the government
gives satisfaction to Washington and immediately alienates civil society, or it
refuses and its chances of joining the European Union sooner will increase to
Bush's great displeasure."
ARGENTINA: "Bush Maintains His Pressure On
The Turkish Government"
Julio Algañaraz, Rome-based correspondent for
leading Clarin wrote (3/4): "The Turkish Parliament's 'no' to U.S.
troops entering Turkey has complicated the U.S. plans to launch an attack on
Iraq from its Northern border.... The Washington pressure on the new Islamic
Turkish government is becoming overwhelming. The Pentagon's strategists sustain
the invasion of Iraq continues being feasible but that it is 'more difficult'
and, above all, 'riskier'.... The news of the (Turkish) Congressional rejection
of U.S. troops entering Turkey to attack Iraq has triggered a slump in Istanbul
Stock Exchange... The most affected were the bonds of large banks because a
financial crisis will lead to a glacial era in Turkey's relationship with the
IMF... Turkey foresees many problems arising from the U.S. invasion of Iraq
because Kurds will find it hard not to fall in the temptation of creating a
Republic of Kurdistan, in or outside Iraq."
BRAZIL: "European Pressure Will Not Avoid
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo's
international writer Marcio Senne de Moraes concluded (3/6): "The decision
by France, Russia and Germany to adopt a joint position against the war places
the U.S. in a very difficult situation diplomatically, but does not affect the
USG's determination to launch a military attack to depose dictator Saddam
Hussein.... Actually, for George W. Bush and his chief advisers, the Turkish
Parliament's refusal to permit the use of its territory by U.S. troops is
perhaps a much more serious problem, because it may delay the invasion of
MEXICO: "Turkey (Not A Surprise): A Crisis For Bush"
Juan Maria Alponte argued in nationalist El Universal
(3/4): "The Bush proposal for
Turkey was stopped in its tracks, and he will have to wait .... The main reason
is opposition from domestic politicians and from 94 percent of the
population.... This setback for the
United States is normal if we consider that the Bush model -going to war
against Iraq by all means- has produced many different reactions.... In this case...we are dealing with an
enormous expense of power where the United States cannot become the new source
for international legitimacy without the United Nations."
Luis Villarreal commented in independent El Norte (3/3):
"The most recent stumbling block for George Bush and his partner's warrior
will is called Turkish Parliament.... Two additional factors mobilize the U.S.
diplomacy. One, the Arab League just expressed its absolute rejection of an
unilateral attack against Iraq; two, Iraq began the destruction of missiles and
some devices of weapon manufacture. Bush's response was immediate. On Saturday
he said: 'It is not enough that Iraq disarms, Saddam needs to leave power.'
Such a position demonstrates his obstinate attitude for war and global power.
The world has never made a greater effort for such a worthy objective. We must
recognize the infinite sacrifice that would result from the U.S. reluctance to
collaborate towards peace."
Raul Sohr opined in government-owned, editorially independent La
Nacion (2/21): "The Turkish Minister of Finance expressed
a fear that the U.S. has stated that the military operations will be short but
that the U.S. Congress will take between six and eight weeks to approve any
payment. What happens if war ends in a
couple of weeks? To avoid
misunderstandings, Turkey demands written guarantees and does not want
ZAMBIA: U.S. Pretext For Invading Iraq"
The Independent Post commented (3/5):
"There's need to intelligently and honestly examine the United States'
pretext for invading Iraq. We are being told Iraq possesses weapons of mass
destruction and as such poses a global threat; we are being told that the
destruction of Saddam Hussein's regime will lead to democracy and increased
observance of human rights in the region; and that the removal of Saddam is not
only a humanitarian duty but a moral one. But looking back, recalling what
happened in our part of the world - the Third World - in the past few decades,
who fathered most of the coups d'etat?...
Who trained the torturers in the most sophisticated techniques? Who
trained the sinister culprits? Who armed them? Who supported them?... It's interesting to note that the country
that claims to be advancing democracy in the world does not respect decisions
of democratic institutions. The Turkish
Parliament has voted against a motion that would have allowed the United States
to position 62,000 troops in that country as it prepares for war against
Iraq. But will the United States
respect this decision? They are trying to bribe the Turkish government with
offers of US$6 billion in grants and a US$8.5 billion bridging loan to Turkey
if it allows the US to establish bases on their land for possible attacks
against Iraq. Is this the type of democracy and values the world should